Civil litigation, with emphasis on personal injury.
Attorney at Law; Owner of The Sokol Law Firm, LLC
Attorney Roni Sokol was well established and highly respected in her career when she decided to quit her job in 2013. At the time, she was working in the severe bodily injury unit of an insurance company when she came to the realization that she’d be much more satisfied if she started representing those who were injured or wronged instead. She gave her two weeks notice and founded The Sokol Law Firm, LLC in Beachwood, Ohio.
The decision to practice a different type of law came easily, but opening a new law firm took careful consideration. Prior to owning her own firm, Roni spent two decades working for large firms representing and defending insurance companies and their policyholders as well as litigating general civil disputes in both Ohio and California. In addition, she worked in-house for one of the largest insurance companies in the country managing severe bodily injury claims in litigation.
“Although I defended insurance companies for years, I would often feel that I was on the wrong side of the legal dispute,” she said. “I found more personal satisfaction helping people who have been wronged or injured. Many people balked at my decision to open my own firm, warning me that I might go months without making a dime. I knew from experience that
if I listened to every negative comment I ever heard regarding the career path I should take, I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Roni’s previous work gave her an intimate understanding of the claims process and how insurance adjusters evaluate cases. Today, she uses that knowledge and experience to represent plaintiffs against insurance companies.
The change meant giving up a steady paycheck plus benefits.
In Roni’s field of work, it is feast or famine. She only gets paid if she wins or settles a case, but she finds that the risk is worth the reward. At first, building up a client base took old- fashioned networking, starting with her husband, who knew a woman who had gotten in a serious car accident and needed representation.
“Then people refer you to their friends and co-workers, and the calls start coming in,” she said.
Today, Roni finds having her own practice to be far more lucrative than working for larger firms. Within a year of opening her firm, Roni won the Cleveland Metropolitan’s Bar Association’s Club 50K award, for being one of the three highest grossing attorneys on the Lawyer Referral Service’s panel.
“One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in my career is don’t take a job opportunity just for the money,” she said. “If you have a job you enjoy, think twice before dumping it for another position that might pay more. You cannot put
a price tag on an enjoyable work environment with people who like and respect you. You might not find the same is true everywhere you go.”
The Sokol Law Firm handles an average of 30 to 40 personal injury or civil litigation cases at any time. As the owner of the firm, Roni does everything from typing her own documents
to appearing in court; all the while offering her clients highly individualized attention. Roni makes it a priority to return client calls and e-mails as quickly as possible. Putting clients at ease is of the utmost importance. She is both an attorney and a counselor for her clients, who are often times suffering from debilitating injuries or unbearable personal lost. Her compassion has earned Roni a reputation as a premiere mortuary negligence attorney, helping families whose loved ones have been wronged by funeral homes and mortuaries.
“My job is difficult,” she said. “I go up against insurance companies on a daily basis, and it is not easy. But, I am representing people at
their most vulnerable. It always feels great to be able to give a client closure and get him or her a well-deserved result. I care about my clients and they know it.”
Roni has always been a go-getter. Her father, a supporter of feminism way before it was in style, always taught her that women can do anything men can do, and better.
“He encouraged me not to ever think that I can’t do something just because I’m female, and I never have,” Roni said.
While attending college at UCLA, Roni got her start in the industry working part time as a legal secretary for a female lawyer. It was then she became interested in law, but did not want to jump straight into law school until she was sure where her career path was headed. After college, she worked for three years as a legal secretary before deciding to go to law school. In 1995, Roni became a lawyer.
Like many, Roni faced numerous challenges in her career, including being a petite female, and for a long time, not having enough experience to get the positions she desired in her industry. These challenges, and many others, inspired Roni to work harder to be accepted on the basis of what she has to offer. Roni utilized her networking strategies to obtain the job offers she wanted.
“One of the greatest lessons I’ve learned is don’t turn down any opportunities!” she said. “Even if you are offered a job in an area of law you don’t think you’re interested in. That opportunity might lead to another, better
opportunity, which in turn might lead to another, and so on.”
Another upside to owning her own firm is Roni’s ability to dictate her own schedule. The mother of a teen and a pre- teen, and wife to an equally hard working husband, free time is hard to come by. Between working on her cases and drumming up new business, Roni values the moments she
can steal away from the office to attend her children’s sporting
events or simply have dinner together as a family.
An award-winning attorney, Roni frequently speaks at professional organizations and encourages young people to follow their dreams. When asked what advice she gives to young women starting their career, Roni advises “Don’t ever let anyone make you feel like you can’t do something! If you have the drive and the passion, you can do anything you put your mind to.”
Photos By: Elizabeth Glorioso
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